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Garissa Governor Nathif Jama has threatened to sue the Interior ministry for allegedly delaying the removal of Kenyans from the refugee database and issuing them IDs.
Government records indicate about 30,000 Kenyans at the Dadaaab refugee camp have their fingerprints captured by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. But politicians claim the figure could be as high as 70,000. Many non-refugee Kenyans have registered as refugees to get relief food and other essentials.
Jama on Wednesday told Dadaab residents the Interior ministry has failed to act on residents’ pleas. “Our children lives have ground to a halt because they cannot be given IDs as they appear in the refugee database. A generation is staring at a bleak future, because some people tasked to end their suffering are failing to act,” he said.
Area MP Mohamed Dahiye said 100,000 youths had registered themselves as refugees to access food and other basics after drought hit the region and decimated their livestock.
He urged Interior CS Joseph Nkaissery to speed up issuance of IDs as President Uhuru Kenyatta directed when he visited the area two months ago.
Balambala MP Abdikadir Aden has also asked the UNHCR to do more for the host community, as refugees have destroyed the environment. He said hosting the refugees for more than 25 years has caused environmental degradation and insecurity.
On Tuesday, UNHCR country deputy representative Wella Kouyou said more than 24,000 Somali refugees at the Dadaab camp have returned home.
He said this year, more than 18,000 refugees have returned home. Kouyou said the UNHCR will work closely with the Kenya and Somali governments to ensure the refugees repatriation is not only voluntary, but is also done in a dignified manner. “We will ensure a rehabilitation programme for the refugees is carried out alongside the repatriation. We thank the international community from whom we continually sought support in various sectors,” he said.
The government has announced the closure of the Dadaab refugee camp by the end of November for allegedly being a “terrorists breeding ground”.
The international community has in the past tried to pressure the government to suspend the repatriation but gave in after Kenya stood her ground.
Friday, August 26, 2016
By STEPHEN ASTARIKO